White Christmas by Diana Palmer reviewed by Lisa

Title: White Christmas: Woman Hater/The Humbug Man
Author: Diana Palmer
Release Date: September 24th, 2013
Pages: 368
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Source: NetGalley ARC

This was my very first time reading a Diana Palmer book. I’ve seen her name mentioned a lot in regards to romance–and she was sort of always on my to-be-read list since there was so much hype surrounding her writing.

So I finally took the plunge and what do I think? Well, I definitely think that she’s a solid romance writer. Her writing is very descriptive and pretty and her characters really do come alive on the page. They sort of jump out at you as you read. And she can obviously weave a good tale of love and loss and finding love again even when it seems hopeless. She also was probably the author who invented UST; Unresolved Sexual Tension. This Anthology had it in spades.

And that is where we come to the downsides of these two stories that I just read; Woman Hater and The Humbug Man. The UST was so killer that when the stories ended so abruptly that I was left reeling. At the 70% mark, I was left dumbfounded. Did she seriously do that? Did she really end the story like that after building and building the tension between the two main characters? I just honestly couldn’t believe it. The stories were good even though she tends to write very formulaic in terms of plot and character type, but that notwithstanding, I did enjoy them, but I was left unsatisfied with the endings.

Woman Hater

What a title, eh? But then I guess that intrigued me the most. Set around the time of Christmas and the hero hating women? What is up with that… I must read this!

Well, the hero hates women after he was duped by the supposed love of his life after she caused a near death accident that left him scarred and invalid. I will say that I didn’t see much of a disability in the hero unless you consider asshole-ish tendencies as one but I digress. After that, well, he became cold and closed off and hardened his heart to any woman who dared approach him with any romantic thoughts on the brain.

Then in walks the heroine, who is seemingly strong at first but then falls into the category of chaste maiden, and she is able to break through the armor that the hero has surrounded himself with, but not without some struggle. A lot of struggle. Too much struggle. The back and forth actually got a little tiresome, I have to admit. She’s got daddy issues, and money issues, and man issues. But all is worked out in the end.

For me, some of the best parts were the very searing and witty dialogue, which I enjoyed quite a bit. And even though the romantic scenes were very chaste, they were also very intense. This woman can write a kissing scene. I’ll give her that!

The Humbug Man

The Humbug Man story was rather short, and I’m not sure why, but it had more of a slightly satisfying ending than Woman Hater. The hero in this one is another recluse who spends all his time working on his ranch in Montana and he doesn’t like people, especially little boys. Apparently he’d lost his wife and son in an accident that he felt responsible for since he was driving.

The heroine this time around has just inherited an old ranch house that was left to her by her grandfather, so she and her nine year old son have come to stay there for the holidays. Her son has got a mad case of hero-worship for their neighbor which is just what the heroine doesn’t need. But it’s all very cute when you actually read about it. The little guy just wants his mom to find someone and it doesn’t hurt that the guy he admires would also make a great dad for him, too. He’d never known his dad because he’d passed before he was born, and the only real male figure he’s had in his life was his grandfather, but now he’s gone, too.

All in all, I thought this one was a whole lot cuter and sweeter than the first. In this end I felt that while I didn’t love both stories, I did likeWh them very much. An overall satisfying and well-written compilation of stories. I will be taking a look at her other books after this. Fans of Diana Palmer will no doubt enjoy these this book.

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